New Announcement by HUD Means More Options for Flood Insurance

All community association boards want to be good stewards of the funds collected from their homeowners.  Sometimes, when finances are tight, a board has to face hard choices about how to reduce costs.  That might mean reducing services or even deferring needed maintenance for a period of time where that maintenance is not essential to safety or structural integrity.  As with all contracts, boards want to find the insurance that best suits their community and offers the best protection—at the best price.  For those townhome and condo communities located in a flood zone, the question often arises whether they must … Continue reading

Yes, Owners of a Restricted Lot Can Be Fined for THEIR TENANT’S Violations of Covenants!

With the appreciating residential real estate market, rental homes are becoming an increasingly common feature in residential neighborhoods subject to restrictive covenants.  Restrictive covenants will typically have a few main types of provisions that lot owners opt into when purchasing their restricted lots—architectural standards, obligations to pay assessments to a homeowners’ association, provisions outlining the common area/amenities- but also some regulations that relate to conduct of individuals who reside on a lot.  Sometimes the practice of leasing will even be prohibited or limited in the restrictive covenants of a community, or even provide that the HOA can screen prospective tenants. … Continue reading

Hurricane Ian Victim’s Tax Relief Deadline Extended for NC and SC Residents

The Internal Revenue Service has recently announced additional relief for Hurricane Ian victims across North Carolina and South Carolina. The tax relief postpones several tax filing and payment deadlines in North and South Carolina, as outlined below: Individuals and businesses located anywhere in the Carolinas will now have until February 15, 2023 to file returns, provided they had a valid extension to file their 2021 return. Individuals and businesses will have until February 15, 2022 to pay taxes that were originally due on September 25, 2022 in South Carolina and September 28, 2022 in North Carolina (the full list of … Continue reading

What Are An Association’s Responsibilities For Ensuring An Owner’s Safety?

There is often a breakdown between what homeowners within a community and the board of an association believe are the responsibilities of the association. Our association clients experience this with a myriad of issues, and one area of particular importance is that of homeowner safety. For associations hoping to understand what their responsibilities are in ensuring a homeowner’s safety and wellbeing, a great place to start is the governing documents. The governing documents will explain an association’s responsibilities in regard to the safety of homeowners, and their additional responsibilities in general. An association should take reasonable action to protect those … Continue reading

Obligation to Pay HOA Dues Survives Even the Strangest Circumstances

As community association attorneys, we hear all sorts of reasons from homeowners to explain why they haven’t paid their assessments.  These usually include legitimate explanations such as illnesses like COVID, job loss, or other hardships.  Some homeowners are more creative.  One owner recently told our office that the presence of “entities” in the home was a reason for non-payment.  In a recent case out of Kentucky, William and Theresa Thompson told their homeowners association they shouldn’t have to pay assessments on two lots they owned because the lots weren’t there anymore.  Although existing as two separate lots, they were treated … Continue reading

Community Associations May Have a Duty to Address Neighbor-to-Neighbor Discrimination

Community associations have historically been able to stay largely uninvolved in neighbor-to-neighbor disputes unless the conduct complained of violated the governing documents of the association. If no governing documents were being violated, the neighbors would be expected to work out the issues among themselves. Now, there is an important step for association boards and managers to consider when learning of neighbor-to-neighbor disputes. The Fair Housing laws may create a duty for community associations to investigate complaints of discrimination between neighbors and to possibly take some action. Note – This duty might exist even if the board of directors and association manager … Continue reading

New NC Supreme Court Case: Applicability of Condominium Act Foreclosure Rights to Pre-1986 Condominiums

A decision last week (November 4) by the NC Supreme Court provides helpful authority to older condominiums not only in the context of foreclosures, but in the larger context of relying on the retroactive portions of the NC Condominium Act (Chapter 47C). In the Matter of the Foreclosure of a Lien by Executive Office Park of Durham Association, Inc Against Martin E. Rock A/K/A Martin A Rock considered the issue of whether a pre-October 1, 1986 condominium, formed pursuant to the NC Unit Ownership Act (Chapter 47A), has the power of sale for foreclosure as set forth in the Condominium … Continue reading

Wilson Elected Chair of CAI’s South Carolina Legislative Action Committee

Law Firm Carolinas Partner David Wilson has been elected Chair of the South Carolina Legislative Action Committee (SC LAC). The SC LAC is a committee of the Community Associations Institute that monitors and influences legislation that impacts community associations, and its members talk with legislators on issues of concern to HOAs and condos. For more information on the activities of the SC LAC, visit the South Carolina Legislative Action Committee page.

Book Review: Run, Don’t Walk, to Buy Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track

Ann Macfarlane, a Professional Registered Parliamentarian in Seattle who works with many local governments and is author of Mastering Council Meetings: A Guidebook for Elected Officials and Local Governments, published the following review of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track on her website: Reader, I am over the moon about Jim Slaughter’s new book, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track. This brief, affordable and funny guidebook will give you the tools to apply Robert’s Rules immediately and effectively. Jim’s humor and focus kept me reading with enjoyment, underlining key phrases, and dotting the text with exclamation points. Jim starts the first chapter, … Continue reading

Taliercio Re-Elected President of American College of Parliamentary Lawyers

Law Firm Carolinas partner Michael Taliercio has been re-elected President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers. The ACPL acknowledges attorneys who have distinguished themselves through contributions to the practice of parliamentary law, including lawyers that work with nonprofit associations, unions, HOA and condo associations, houses of worship, and governmental bodies. Taliercio is both an attorney and a Professional Registered Parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians.

South Carolina Supreme Court Finds Mandatory Arbitration Provision Unconscionable

In a recent South Carolina Supreme Court decision, the Court struck a mandatory arbitration clause from purchaser contracts with a home builder because the terms were considered to be unconscionable.  In Damico v. Lennar Carolinas, a group of home buyers in the Spring Grove Plantation community sued Lennar Carolinas for construction defect claims.  As one of its primary defenses, Lennar Carolinas pointed to the arbitration clause included in the contracts that each homeowner had signed.  These clauses required cases to be arbitrated and waived other protections normally available to a home buyer, such as trial by jury.  The Court determined … Continue reading

What are Accessory Dwelling Units, and How Do They Affect Planned Communities?

The housing market is continuously in flux. New housing products, designs, and concepts are constantly entering neighborhoods and forcing Americans to rethink what community living means and looks like. Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADU”) are nothing new. The concept has been around for some time. Think the mother-in-law suite built behind the principal structure or potentially an efficiency apartment built above a detached garage.  In Greensboro, NC, for example, ADUs are permitted in all residential zoning districts so long as they meet certain additional planning standards: Accessory Dwelling Units Unless otherwise expressly stated, all accessory dwelling units must meet the requirements that apply to principal … Continue reading

Law Firm Carolinas Named to Fast 50 List

Law Firm Carolinas has been named by the Triad Business Journal to its “Fast 50 List,” which consists of the 50 fastest growing businesses in the Triad. It is the firm’s third recognition on the Fast 50 list. Managing Partner Carole Albright points to several examples of the firm’s growth over the past three years, including the purchase of a larger Charlotte office, renovations in the Greensboro office, and the opening of several new offices, for six total—Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Columbia (SC), and Greenville (SC). Partner Jon Raymer accepted the firm’s Fast 50 recognition at the Business Journal’s recognition … Continue reading

Robert’s Rules of Order & Sturgis Motions “Cheat Sheets”

This year saw the publication of my two new books on proper meeting procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. With the publication of these books (based on the new 12th Edition of Robert’s), I’ve been asked if there are updated “cheat sheets” to the motions most often seen in meetings. The answer is “yes.” Parliamentary motions guides to the most used parliamentary authorities, including Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th Edition), The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, Fourth Edition (“Sturgis”), and AIP’s Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, can all … Continue reading

Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition NOW AVAILABLE!

This summer I let you know about the release of Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track, a quick go-to guide that provides details on the most used motions, appropriate informal procedures for association boards, and general advice for shortening meetings. Pleased to say it was the #1 new release in its category on Amazon, as small a category as that might be. As a follow-up, the new Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules is now available! Regardless of your level of parliamentary experience, you’ll learn something new from Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition. The book complements Robert’s Rules of … Continue reading

ABA Journal Podcast on Meetings & Robert’s Rules

If you like podcasts, the American Bar Association Journal interviewed me this month for its ABA Journal Modern Law Library on “Sick of Meetings That Go Off the Rails? Robert’s Rules of Order Can Help.” The discussion covered everything from the importance of proper meeting procedure, board versus member meeting procedure, myths about meetings, minutes, parliamentarians, parliamentary organizations, and more. Depending on your preferred podcast platform, the episode can be found at: Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherOvercast Here’s the Modern Law Library website for the episode:

Set Assessments at Appropriate Levels Because A Special Assessment May Not be Available to Save the Day!

Nobody likes to pay taxes, or in the community association world, high assessments.  However, Boards need to make sure that they are setting assessments at an appropriate level to account for anticipated and potentially unanticipated needs and obligations of the community. Board members have a fiduciary duty to the Association which can include making sure that they are doing what they can to assure that the Association is properly funded. Boards should do their best not to fall into the trap that can often be set by developers who may have set assessments at a lower amount in an effort … Continue reading

NC Bar Association Interview with Jim Slaughter

The NC Bar Association recently interviewed partner Jim Slaughter about association meetings, parliamentary procedure, Robert’s Rules of Order, and his two new books on meeting procedure. The article can be found in this month’s North Carolina Lawyer Magazine here:Parliamentary Procedure, Robert’s Rules, and Jim Slaughter: Award-Winning Author Discusses Two New Books and More. Jim is an attorney, Certified Professional Parliamentarian-Teacher, Professional Registered Parliamentarian,, and past President of the American College of Parliamentary Lawyers. He has written four books on meeting procedure, including Robert’s Rules of Order Fast Track and Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fourth Edition (with a new Fifth … Continue reading

Fraud Alert:  New Burglary Scheme Targets Owners by Posing as HOA-Sanctioned Contractors

Depending upon your community structure and governing documents, it is entirely possible that your HOA will provide maintenance within the community.  Examples of this are where townhome community documents provide that assessments cover select items of exterior maintenance (such as roofing systems, siding, or yardwork).  Condominium associations also may have an easement to access the interior of owner units in order to access the “common elements” (frequently the interior “guts” of the walls—utility lines/plumbing).  Such maintenance will involve the community association sending out contractors to assess the maintenance needs, and also performing work.  These contractors will be arranged and hired … Continue reading

Update on Fifth Edition of Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules

Several readers on Amazon have sent me a message to the effect of, “I have your Robert’s Rules Of Order Fast Track, but can’t seem to find Notes and Comments on Robert’s Rules, Fifth Edition, only the Fourth Edition for the last Robert’s. Where can I find the Fifth Edition?” First off, thanks for reading and for looking for the book! That’s gratifying to me as an author. Hope the books have been helpful. (As an aside, if you found the Fast Track guide helpful, please consider commenting or posting a review here, as that is how people find out … Continue reading